Since tackling my Work In Progress novel, I wanted to understand the purpose and importance of the middle in storytelling. So I was pleased to find Write Your Novel from the Middle by James Scott Bell.
At 84 pages, the book certainly wastes no space in explaining how to create the middle point of your novel and then writing backwards and forwards from it. Mr. Bell begins by explaining this approach will work for Pam Pantser, Paul Plotter, and Tammy Tweener. The key is the Mirror Moment, and it really is a moment, which come in the middle of the story. The main character (MC) reflects on what kind of person he or she is.
To make this moment meaningful, the writer must write a backstory for the character in the first half of the story and a transformation in the last half. Mr. Bell states that the moment is key because it’s what the novel is “really all about”.
He gives examples of mirror moments from books, like A Christmas Carol, and movies, like Lethal Weapon, Sunset Boulevard, and Moonstruck. The author also goes into details about story structure, like the three-act structure, and the components that make up that act. He also provides ways to ignite inspiration in your writing.
My trouble with his approach is that while I plot out the action of my chapters, a few chapters at a time, I don’t really know what my story is about until I write a large chunk of it.
In my WIP, I included a mirror moment without giving it too much thought. Now that I’ve read this book, I’ve gone back to examine that scene and see how I can improve it.
One thing I’ve learned about myself as a writer is that it’s sometimes hard for me to incorporate advice until I run into a problem. Such as I couldn/t follow Mr. Bell’s advice until I was knee deep in the middle of my novel.
Do you recommend a book for how to tackle the middle of a story? What is it? I’d love to find more books on this topic.